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Exercise In A Pill Possible

Exercise In A Pill Possible

Two new studies have alluded to the enticing possibility that we may one day be able to gain the benefits of exercise in a pill.

Exercise in a pill would ideally be taken by those incapable of working out.

In one of the current studies, published in Nature Medicine, researchers address the importance of synchronizing rhythms of behavior and metabolic processes. This study stemmed from earlier research published in Nature, last year.

During the prior experiment, researchers used a synthetic protein called REV-ERB in mice models. Scientists administered the catalyst in an effort to trigger nuclear receptors REV-ERB-α and REV-ERB-β.

These play an important role in regulating biological factors for activity and metabolism.

The current research was performed at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida. Researchers there found that a deficiency of REV-ERB-α resulted in the deactivation of key signaling pathways. Whereas an over-expression of REV-ERB-α (in vivo) increased respiratory capacity – improving skeletal muscle function.

Obese mice injected with the modified REV-ERB compound, even those on high-fat diets, lost weight. They also attained healthier cholesterol levels.

Treated mice used more oxygen throughout the day, versus untreated control mice. On average, treated mice expended 5 percent more energy. This occurred, even though all of the animals shared the same level of activity/inactivity, according to the New York Times.

Thereafter, Scripps scientists, in conjunction with other institutions, set out to see how the compound managed to mimic and create artificial exercise. That research, using similar mice models, ultimately produced results which revealed how the protein influenced muscles directly.

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis researchers attempted to replicate the earlier work. This time researchers administered large doses of resveratrol.

Resveratrol is abundant in grape skins and red wine.

The injected compound was found to increase the creation of new mitochondria in isolated muscle cells, mimicking aerobic exercise.

Resveratrol too was hailed as an effective means of pharmacologically simulating exercise. Their data was published in PLOS Biology.

With the potential of literally encapsulating exercise, ethical questions arise. There is some looming concern as to whether or not such a move to create exercise in a pill is wise?

For researchers, the fundamental aim of this type of scientific exploration is to aid those who cannot exercise and have limited ambulatory movement. Not couch potatoes who refuse to workout, and would prefer to get their exercise in a pill.

Regrettably, the necessary levels of the aforementioned compounds needed for human consumption would have to be exaggeratedly high, thus toxic.Also, the mimicked exercise in a pill would not replicate all of the positive benefits exercise provides.

Additional research is required.

If you could take exercise in a pill, would you?

[Image via Shutterstock]

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